Easter may be low season for hitting the piste, but you can still take the family somewhere with plenty of snow, sun and off-slope pursuits. This year, Easter Sunday falls on 1 April, which is towards the end of the season – so it’s all down to picking the right resort. The most important factors are high altitude, north-facing terrain and, ideally, some glacier skiing.
There are some major advantages to skiing outside of December-March. Fewer people means shorter lift queues, reservations for popular restaurants are easier to come by and ski schools have plenty of availability. Not to mention picture-perfect weather for outdoor après and long, warm lunches. You should find lower priced lift passes too. Here are the top three resorts for an Easter skiing break:
Families looking for a late-season resort with plenty of snow cover and lots to do should head to Tignes and Val d’Isère. The skiing area goes up to 3,456m at the top of La Grande Motte glacier in the Espace Killy ski area, which the two resorts share. Combined, they give you 300km of high-altitude slopes and incredible glacier skiing for those with a bit of experience under their belt. They also offer plenty of practice lifts and natural links. Espace Killy stays open until early May, so it’s a snowsure spot for Easter.
There’s an expansive children’s area in Val d’Isère with a magic carpet lift, schools that take little ones from the age of four and a strict no-car policy in resort. Off the slopes, you could take adventurous teens waterfall climbing and lake diving in Tignes. You’ll also find some of France’s best après-ski venues – think local institution Dick’s Tea Bar in Val d’Isère.
The highest major resort in Europe, Val Thorens sits at a lofty 2,300m, with the highest lift reaching 3,200m. It gets some serious snow, even well into May. There are plenty of green runs across the Trois Vallées and savings on lift passes if you’re travelling with children. Little ones can learn the ropes on beginner slopes with magic carpet lifts, or while away the afternoons at Galerie Caron, an indoor fun park with trampolines, bouncy castles and swimming pools.
The majority of accommodation in the resort is family-friendly too, with ski-in, ski-out apartments and hotels offering childcare. If you like to take your skiing at a leisurely pace, there are some tranquil spots for lunch on the mountain. You can try the buffet-style dining at Les Chalets du Thorens and local specialities and a sun terrace at Le Chalet de la Marine.
With the season coming to a close, Verbier is a mainstay for snow and sunshine. It has runs up to an altitude of 3,330m, Four Valleys access for challenging skiing and an extensive restaurant and retail complex at the base of the Médran gondola.
The resort is a highlight on the circuit for fun off-slope activities for families. Slow down and admire the scenery with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Adventurers will find dog sledding on designated trails, tobogganing along hairpin bends in Savoleyres and ice karting on a Daytona-style track. The kids will also love the ice rink and leisure pool at Centre Sportif.